Purpose Of Imprisonment Essay

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A change in national attitude will create the space for bolder state reforms.

This essay offers three national solutions, executed through a mix of federal, state, and local reforms.

Their concerns vary from spiraling prison costs to intrusion of big government, from religious redemption to civil rights concerns.

We now know that we can reduce crime reduce incarceration.

But we should ask: Why do our laws allow prison — the harshest punishment available short of execution — for many of these crimes in the first place?

Of course, those who commit crimes should be punished (and some low-level offenders may need prison), but generally such severe punishment simply is not warranted.Many states increased the discretion of judges so they can decide— or a prosecutor or parole officer can recommend — whether to send a defendant to prison or to an alternative punishment.However, prison is still a legally permissible option for low-level crimes.Though a President or other national leader may not have legal authority to enact all of them, they can and should be champions for these changes.Incarceration is the punishment of first resort for too many offenses.Spending grew almost 400 percent over the past 30 years.With so many withdrawn from society, and returning stigmatized as “convicts,” the criminal justice system drains overall economic growth. Nearly two-thirds of the 600,000 people who exit prisons each year face long-term unemployment.3 The social and human costs are even higher. In response to the crime wave of the 1980s, politicians vied to be the most punitive — from the 1977 New York City mayoral election, which improbably turned on the issue of the death penalty (over which a mayor has no power), to the 1994 referendum that passed “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” in California. Reducing mass incarceration is now one of the few issues on which the left and right are coming to agree.We need a national conversation, led by national voices, off national solutions. But, since criminal justice is largely a province of states and cities, how can there be “national” solutions?Each state struggles with the same challenges: too many arrests, prosecutions, pretrial detentions, prison sentences, and probation and parole revocations.We use cookies to make interactions with our website easy and meaningful, to better understand the use of our services, and to tailor advertising.For further information, including about cookie settings, please read our Cookie Policy .

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